Five-ring Circus

The Olympics Rage-o-Meter

Matt Lauer steps in for Bob Costas. NBC viewers did not like his beard.

Bob Costas, Matt Lauer
Which is worse: Bob Costas’ eye problems or Matt Lauer’s beard?

Photos via NBC Olympics,Today

With his eye infection growing stronger by the hour, NBC’s indefatigable Bob Costas finally succumbed to the creeping grossness, passing off Olympic hosting duties to Today’s Matt Lauer. And Lauer won’t just be keeping the seat warm for a few hours. According to NBC Sports, “Bob Costas says his eyes are still tearing up,” so he’ll be out of commission for at least one more night.

How did NBC viewers react to Lauer’s battlefield promotion? To the Rage-o-Meter!

Why are we angry? Lauer’s stubbly visage is not a popular look.

Or to put it another way:

He also does weird things with his lower body, apparently:

At least Lauer’s presence allowed some loyal viewers to appreciate the Olympics’ usual whipping boy:

Then again, maybe not:

How angry are we? Everyone on Twitter apparently blames Lauer for Ann Curry’s firing from Today. It should be noted, though, that Lauer-induced rage wasn’t universal.

Hey, who asked you!

How angry should we be? Not angry in the slightest. Lauer seemed well-prepared and pronounced difficult names correctly. No complaints here, and you shouldn’t be complaining either, jerks.

Rage-o-Meter Score: We’ll turn the flame up a notch from a meager two to a warmish three. Getting a little toasty, eh, Peacock?

Illustration by Alex Eben Meyer

Previous Rage-o-Meter entries:

Monday, Feb. 10: Butchering the opening ceremony.
Tuesday, Feb. 11: NBC’s snowboarding coverage is terrible. We want more of it!

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Sochi Olympics.